The Court of Federal Claims recently held that a company could not rely on its affiliate’s Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) contractor status in order to comply with the solicitation. The procurement at issue involved the purchase of glucose test strips from an FSS contract. The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and the solicitation prohibited entering into the FSS blanket purchase agreement (BPA) with a non-schedule contractor. However, the Defense Health Agency (DHA) awarded the BPA to Abbott Diabetes Care Sales Corp. (Abbott), who did not have the required FSS contract but its affiliate Abbott Laboratories Inc. (ALI) did. Arkray (the protester) argued that Abbott improperly relied on the FSS of its corporate affiliate to provide the strips.
The court had previously remanded the case to the DHA to determine whether Abbott could “properly hold itself out as” having an FSS as required by the solicitation. On remand, the DHA decided to proceed with the BPA award because it concluded Abbott was either acting as ALI’s agent under its FSS contract or the companies were sufficiently closely related enough to allow Abbott to rely on ALI’s FSS contract to satisfy the terms of the solicitation.
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